03 October 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Oct 1, 2014

I think, this week, it was important more than anything to get back on track after an underwhelming filler episode last week, and TNA did exactly that.  One good thing that came from last week's show was the stipulation that gave Austin Aries the ability to challenge for any championship on the roster, and he wasted no time this week since it took him mere minutes into the opening segment to announce his decision.  As he listed the names of the current titleholder in each division, it dawned on me how impressive a list it was. Lashley, Samoa Joe, The Wolves, and Gail Kim are easily some of the most dominant champions in their respective division in the history of the company.  Obviously, much credit goes to the wrestlers but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the writers have done a phenomenal job from a booking standpoint. And not only the champions, but after a period in which the titles felt so inconsequential, each title currently feels special, and each one was featured nicely on this week's Impact.

The X Division title was highlighted by a brutally stiff contest between Samoa Joe and Austin Aries. It was a great match to open this week's show, setting the tone for the rest of the night. The Tag Team titles, which have been on display for several weeks due to the fantastic tag title series between the Wolves, the Hardys, and Team 3D, will be up for grabs next week in a Full Metal Mayhem match.  It was set up by a perfectly executed three-way confrontation between the competitors inside the ring where we finally witnessed some animosity coming from the veteran teams.  It seemed like Team 3D and the Hardys were perfectly happy to pat the Wolves on the back and praise them until the young team won a very important Match #3 two weeks ago. I thought the dynamic here was great.  It made it so that the Wolves look like stars next week if they can defeat the two legendary tag teams.

In the world title scene, Bobby Roode called Lashley out to the ring and, surprisingly, attempted to reason with him and perhaps stroke his ego enough to grant him another title shot.  I absolutely loved that the writers chose this path since I'm not sure what Roode could've said to Kurt Angle to convince him to give him another shot at the world title without coming across as a sore loser.  Roode's tactic almost worked as it appeared that Lashley was willing to accept before MVP intervened. This was a great segment that emphasized how much the world title means to Lashley and Roode, as well as MVP. I suspect Roode will get another title shot but it'll be interesting to see how he accomplishes this.

And lastly, the Knockouts title got top billing this week.  Originally scheduled to take place in the first hour, the title match between Gail Kim and Havok never technically started due to the latter's attack on the champion.  It was a physical brawl between the two that led to a cringe-worthy moment in which Havok slammed Gail Kim to the ground, injuring her shoulder.  However, it was Gail's determination that led to the match going on as planned in the main event spot.  Yes, the Knockouts title match was the main event of Impact this week, and it was well-deserved.  In the end, Havok destroyed a helpless Gail Kim to become the new Knockouts champion. TNA did the Knockouts justice this week and I applaud them for that.

In other developments, Ethan Carter III bullied Rockstar Spud, setting up what will be their eventual split...sadly.  EC3 and Spud have been one of TNA's best duos but it looks like the writers are getting EC3 ready for a serious push in the main event scene so it's time to put an end to the novelty comedy act.  Speaking of novelties, I like that the writers are phasing Chris Melendez in to the Impact Wrestling roster as a regular member, thus avoiding the novelty pitfalls that come with such a gimmick.  He now has a mentor in Mr. Anderson and enemies in MVP and Kenny King. And finally, we finally got to watch Manik in a singles match.  I like that the writers are putting the spotlight on him for once, even though it appeared that his every move was controlled by James Storm.  The Revolution is a storyline that has me smiling because it provokes so many different emotions in me.

Favorite Moment - So many to choose from but I will go with Havok/Gail Kim brawl that led to Havok slamming Gail on to the floor.  Simply awesome.

Least Favorite Moment - I can't say that there was anything I disliked on the show this week. I think I'll pass.

MVP of the Night - This one's easy. THE KNOCKOUTS. Havok and Gail Kim showed us how awesome women's wrestling can be when done right.  Kudos to both women for an amazing effort.

Grade - Excellent show.  So much goodness in those two hours.  Impact, right now, is a very good mix of wrestling and storytelling.  I can't remember the last time the balance was as good.  Perhaps in 2012 but I think the wrestling right now is far superior.  Overall, this week's show gets an A- from me.  Just a great week of wrestling.

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